All travellers from India, who are not Singaporeans and permanent residents, will have to take take a Covid-19 test within 72 hours before departing for Singapore from next Thursday.
This comes in a move to reduce the number of imported cases from India. In last few days Singapore reports most imported cases from India.
A one-year-old Singaporean baby who had arrived from India on August 24. He was the only imported case on Tuesday. On Monday, two of the three imported cases had arrived from India.
The Health Minister of Singapore on Wednesday in a statement said that the travellers will have to show a valid negative test result that has to be taken within 72 hours before their flight to Singapore.
“We have been closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation in India. There have been reports of a resurgence of infections in India. Singapore has also observed a significant number of imported cases with recent travel history to India,” the ministry said.
“As the global situation evolves, we will continue to adjust our border measures to manage the risk of importation and any onward transmission to the community,” it added.
The tests will apply on top of the present requirements of a 14-day stay-home notice (SHN) at dedicated facilities and a negative COVID-19 test before the top of their stay-home notice.
Travelers should be prepared to be subjected to regulatory measures upon entry, including the payment of their occupy the SHN facilities and tests, according to the ministry.
Meanwhile, a minister said coronavirus cases continued to surface in previously cleared dormitories that are housing foreign workers as many of the workers there had not been exposed before and, therefore, remain at risk of the infection.
“However, we are prepared for this,” Second Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng told a virtual press conference on Wednesday.
Since the dormitories were declared cleared of the virus nearly a month ago on August 11, there has been a mean of 45 workers testing positive for COVID-19 daily, the Health Ministry said.
These were detected primarily through active surveillance testing, like rostered routine testing (RRT), and aggressive tracing and testing.
About 2 percent of those newly-detected cases had positive serological tests, indicating past infections, according to a report by The Straits Times.
Asked if some of the cases in the cleared dormitories had slipped through undetected by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, Tan said: “A PCR test is a test at that specific point in time. So, it”s a snapshot of the status of the migrant worker at that specific point in time. And it”s also a function of picking up the virus at a certain concentration.”
He said it was not a matter of the sensitivity, adding that the test kits used here are “very sensitive tests.”
“It”s just that at that particular point in time, in the cycle of the incubation, we might not have picked up the virus because the manifestation of it, the concentration has still not reached that level yet,” the minister was quoted as saying.
Because of this, the authorities decided to tighten the dragnet by rostering workers for testing every 14 days, a key lever in Singapore’s detection strategy, said Tan, who cited studies showing that up to 30 percent of infected individuals were asymptomatic.
In 14 days, about 98 percent of the migrant worker dormitory population can be tested, he noted.
“Now, does it mean we miss out the two percent? No, because the moment we pick up a re-emergent kind of a number, we actually lock down the block and we test everyone,” he said.
(With Inputs From NDTV)
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